Electric cars zoom ahead at Paris show


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    People visit the Paris Auto Show on October 1st, 2010, on the event's opening day.

    - Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

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    A dancer performs at the Seat stand at the Paris Auto Show

    - Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

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    People look at the Toyota 'FT-EVII' electric car at the Paris Auto Show.

    - Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

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    A Lamborghini is presented at the Paris Auto Show

    - Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

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    The new Cadillac CTS-V Coupe at the Paris Auto Show.

    - Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

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    The new Cadillac SRX at the Paris Auto Show.

    - Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

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    The new Lotus Exige Edition RGB is presented at the Paris Auto Show.

    - Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

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    The new Grand Cherokee Overland Jeep is presented at the Paris Auto Show.

    - Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

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    Picture of a hybrid Volkswagen Passat at the Paris Motor Show at Parc des expositions Porte de Versailles in Paris, France.

    - Francois Durand/Getty Images

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    Picture of a Ford Next generation car taken during a press day at the Paris Motor Show at Parc des expositions Porte de Versailles in Paris, France.

    - Francois Durand/Getty Images

TEXT OF STORY

BILL RADKE: Over the weekend hearts started racing at the Paris Auto Show. Industry experts say it's the first time since 2008 that a big auto show actually felt upbeat. Marketplace's Eve Troeh is here to tell us what's making everybody say "Magnifique!" Hello Eve.

EVE TROEH: Hi Bill.

RADKE: So what's everyone excited about?

TROEH: The big news is EV's, so you might say the feeling is electric. Sorry about that. I mean new electric vehicles from Volvo, Opel, Peugeot, Renault -- everybody's got one. Now I didn't get to go to Paris to see them, but Simon Warburton did. He writes for JustAuto in the U.K. He told me this show proves the electric market is charging ahead. And that's good news for the whole industry.

SIMON WARBURTON: It's certainly a sector that's looking to revitalize and actually provide new momentum and new incentives. This is creating possibly vast amounts of new jobs.

Plus, since Paris held the world's first auto show back in the 1800s, it's kind of nice that this revolution reached a tipping point at this event.

RADKE: But when is this revolution going to hit the road, Eve? Most cities in the U.S. don't even have charging stations.

TROEH: That's true. And there's still serious "range anxiety" -- that's what they call people's concerns about their electric car will dying in the middle of nowhere without a way to charge it. And automakers admit they probably won't make profits on electric cars for several years because of that. But they think laws on emissions are only going to get more strict, so they need to get ahead of that now.

RADKE: OK. That's the electric stuff. I assume there were some good old gas engines at the show?

TROEH: Yes. Side by side with electric cars and hybrids there were all these more efficient traditional cars. Ford has a Diesel Fiesta and Fiat some new cars that pollute just a tiny bit more than hybrids, than Priuses. Or is it Priuais?

RADKE: I believe it's Priuais.

TROEH: Now most people, they might want to try electric and hybrid cars, but they're very expensive. So car companies are still going to be making good, old gas engines and in this economy more miles per gallon is still a great selling point.

RADKE: Marketplace's Eve Troeh. Eve, thank you.

TROEH: Thank you.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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